State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Fourteen -year -old Kara Walla of Hales Corners won the 2008 Badger State Spelling Bee over the weekend.
Read more about Kara’s victory.
Senate Democrats scheduled an executive session for Tuesday in the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Great Lakes Compact legislation. There are 153 pages in the Great Lakes Compact bill, Senate Bill 523. Monday, 33 amendments were added to the bill. Less than 24 hours later, the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources was scheduled to vote on the heavily amended bill.
It was unconscionable to expect the committee, concerned parties and the general public to review and comprehend this complex bill in such a short amount of time.
The committee recessed Tuesday, came back to work Wednesday, narrowly approved the bill on a 3-2 vote, and then the full state Senate voted on the bill, with less than 24 hours to prepare, in addition to a full Senate calendar.
I fully expect the same process to play out next as Senate Democrats unveil their government health care plan.
Having massive bills like the amended Great Lakes Compact dropped in your lap with little time to review is unreasonable, especially during a week like this past week. Consider the following that occurred during Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in addition to the 153 page and 33 amendment compact bill:
- Some of the committees I serve on met at the same time.
- Six committee meetings.
- Executive voting sessions in the committees on 24 bills.
- Public hearings in committees on 22 bills.
- Two days on the Senate floor.
- Votes on the state Senate floor on 42 bills.
This manner of governing, ramming through complex bills abruptly at the last minute without appropriate time to review is extremely unfair to legislators and the constituents they represent.
Today on the Senate floor, there was a motion to bring Assembly Joint Resolution 17 (AJR 17) to the floor for a vote. AJR 17 is the constitutional amendment to require a photo ID to vote. AJR 17 allows you to express your desires about photo ID at the voting booth.
The motion to bring the resolution to the floor was a motion to suspend the rules of the Senate that required a two-thirds vote.
All Senate Republicans voted to take up the constitutional amendment.
All Senate Democrats except one voted against bringing the constitutional amendment to the floor.
The motion failed 15-17.
Senate Democrats continue to obstruct the opportunity for you to express your will about requiring a photo ID to vote. Studies show overwhelmingly that people want photo ID as a requirement to vote.
For a year and a half, I served on the Legislative Council Special Study Committee on the Great Lakes Compact. The committee was outstanding, the most meaningful committee I have served on during my years in the Legislature.The makeup of the committee was amazing in that such a varied group of individuals including legislators, interest groups, businesspeople, environmentalists and university officials managed to work diligently for countless hours on a critical issue of enormous magnitude. There is not an issue that is more important than the Compact.
The way the committee ended its work is telling because more time was necessary to develop the best Compact possible. The sheer length of the Compact was a signal the document needed further study.
Once the Compact is adopted, its policies will remain intact for generations to come, so the job must be done right. Unfortunately, the Compact as written contains page after page of language that is broad and vague, as outlined by our highly respected Legislative Council.
I have already blogged this week about how 33 amendments were proposed to the Great Lakes Compact bill with little time for legislators, the press, interested parties and the general public to review.
It is frustrating to me as the most vocal opponent of the Compact that so many amendments were dropped at the last minute onto a bill that totals over 150 pages. This is no way to run a ship.
The heavy amount of broad language in the Compact indicates this issue almost certainly will wind up in federal courts for years and years to come. The Compact constitutes make-work for attorneys.
I agree that there needs to be a Compact. While I am the biggest opponent to the Compact, I am also the strongest advocate for a Compact that manages our water resources wisely. It’s important for the states to come together, develop an understanding, and come to a compromise.
However, the current Compact has major flaws, including the one state veto provision. Allowing one governor from another state to deny a water diversion to citizens that cannot vote for that governor is a very serious problem with the Compact as written. To relinquish our sovereignty to a regional body of governors that can make changes after the Compact is adopted is unacceptable. Where else do we have a dictatorial or totalitarian form of government where we give up our decision-making authority?
I could never support a document that relinquishes our sovereignty to another state. I also cannot support legislation that is jammed down our throats at the last minute without appropriate time to examine the bill’s complex details.
The Great Lakes Compact bill, Senate Bill 523 now goes to the state Assembly. The current legislative session ends next Thursday, March 13.